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Author Topic: the Samsung EX1 review  (Read 5403 times)
fredjeang
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« on: June 14, 2010, 10:59:55 AM »
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Thanks for this H.O.R

I must say that I've been more than impressed by the 800 iso sample, considering the sensor size, AND, the D.R in the Jeff pic.
It looks more MF (not kidding) than any other stuff, at least in small size. Quite impressed.

That is indeed a great news, after the extravagant menu designs of the Sony, it is reconforting to think that some brands are actually thinking in another language than marketing-delirium when they make cameras.

I agree totally with what you say about the feel in one's hands. Last week-end, I had the oportunity to work for the first time with 2 cameras at the same time, the 5D MK2 and the 1D MK III. Well, I can't deal with the 5D handling while I felt immediatly "at home" with the 1D. Hand size? weight-balance? controls distribution? Don't know for sure but I found the difference really huge, in fact that huge that I just stop to shoot with the 5D because it felt just unnatural in my hands. The 1D is much heavier and bigger, but I was feeling completly comfortable. That is indeed the most important factor IMO with the viewfinder quality. ( I also had an F4 in film age that I was happy with and I've tried one day the D3 and just left it after 2 minutes because of the same reason ).

In fact, your article comes just at the right time, when after many many (many) thinkings, I was about to let me tempted by the m4/3 with pancacke simply because it is the best reduced-size-quality devices available today, and after the extravagant Sony "essay", but this Samsung article came just right on the money.
This is the size I want (real pocket), and I find the IQ good enough (in fact much better than the G11), and the price 450 euros, and if I want lens mount and video simply I got bigger and heavier, point. But reduced-size to me is pocket or nothing. And I also want 100% silence when shooting. (that was one of my big complain about the mirrorless shutter noise on the m4/3, and the very "discrete" sound of the flash pop-up on the Gf1. My door key when I lock the door does a similar music.

Oh, by the way you are right, when I was student in 92 in Nîmes, there was the Arles photographic school, and I can tell you that the Schneider optics where like...what Bentley is to Rolls.
Apparently, they have more than just the name sticker on this camera.

Cheers.

Ps: I noticed that you mentionned DNG. I would like to beleive on that standard. In fact I use it a lot since I bought the little Pentax. BUT...there is a big name missing in that play: Phase One.
Have you ever tried to open a DNG file with C1 ? well, if you want a Jimmy Hendrix mushrooms 70's experience, that is the thing to do. Highly recommended.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2010, 11:40:04 AM by fredjeang » Logged
MyEcholalia
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« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2010, 04:01:15 PM »
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I am intrigued by the Samsung EX1 as well, to replace my current "always with me" camara, the Panasonic G1. Not that I am not happy with the G1, the Samsung would just offer an even more compact solution, with what seems like great image quality as well for the size. Does anybody have first-hand experience about how the EX1 compares to the G1 in terms of image quality? At the end of the day this is my no. 1 need, as I don't need fancy feature, video, or anything like that.

Thanks,
Thorsten
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michael
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« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2010, 09:03:09 PM »
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The G1o IQ will be superior. It has a significantly larger sensor. But whether that difference is an issue for you and the use that you have for your images is something that only you can answer.

Michael
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« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2010, 11:12:42 PM »
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Quote from: michael
The G1o IQ will be superior. It has a significantly larger sensor. But whether that difference is an issue for you and the use that you have for your images is something that only you can answer.

Michael

Thanks for the response, Michael. I guess I'll just have to get my hands on an EX1 and see how I like the files.

Thorsten
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Morris Taub
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« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2010, 06:44:57 AM »
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Quote from: MyEcholalia
Thanks for the response, Michael. I guess I'll just have to get my hands on an EX1 and see how I like the files.

Thorsten


Thorsten, You can download full size jpeg files at dpreview.com if you want, they posted an image gallery...hope this link works...

http://www.dpreview.com/news/1006/10060703...l500gallery.asp

I played with images at 80, 800, 1600 and 3200 iso...they are quite good...and converting them to b&w in ACR/photoshop or Silver Efex Pro produced really nice results...nice film-like look to any noise, and adding grain just enhanced that...did the same with LX3 files and they look terrible...

wonder how slow raw shooting is...I want to upgrade my Canon A630, I'd like raw files, somewhat better image quality the goal, I know it's a tiny sensor so i'm not expecting dslr image quality...anyway, I wonder if it's 2, 3, or more seconds in between raw shots...I see Michael calls it slow...

I wrote elsewhere of using chdk on my A630 which allows me to shoot dng files with it...image quality much better, but wait time between shots is too long...i really want and need a more reactive small take everywhere camera that shoots raw, maybe it won't be the ex1, though even the jpeg files look much better than my four year old Canon...
« Last Edit: June 15, 2010, 06:46:49 AM by Morris Taub » Logged

Panorama
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« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2010, 08:09:16 AM »
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Thanks for the introductory review. Looks like an interesting little camera.

Am I mistaken, or is the price missing (didn't see it listed anywhere)? I see a reference to "price range" but even that's not stated.
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Steve Weldon
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« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2010, 08:11:15 AM »
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Quote from: fredjeang
That is indeed a great news, after the extravagant menu designs of the Sony, it is reconforting to think that some brands are actually thinking in another language than marketing-delirium when they make cameras.

I'm going to add my thoughts to the Sony menu/UI comments.  

I've had a few days to play with a NEX-5.. firmware version 1.  I've spent a few hours sitting here with it, reading the book, enabling different functions in different modes, and making sample images.

1.  This is a very small camera, smaller than many point and shoots.  There is only so much room for buttons and dials and knobs and the such.. not much at all.  Physical room to put knobs/dials/buttons will forever be an issue with these small cameras.

2.  When designing this type of camera I would think it quickly becomes obvious that because of this limited space for knobs/buttons/dials.. that either a traditional approach with limited function.. or a new approach with perhaps more function.. are the choices.  Sony's new user interface is indeed the latter.  A new approach.

3.  New approaches aren't necessarily bad.. but they do go against the what we already know and are familiar with.  The dreaded "change" rears its ugly head.  

4.  When faced with change we can either resist.. or put in some effort and try and see the designers point of view and give it a fair try.  Expecting a new design to be like an old design is pointless.  To give a fair appraisal you need to clear your head of what you know and experience the new.  This is hard to do for an experienced photographer.  This is why I asked several people to make certain settings using the new NEX-5, a Canon G9, and a Canon 400.   Without going into the results I'll just say the NEX-5 was regarded pretty much the same as others.. in that if you looked in the book you'd quickly find the answer and "learning the camera" was required.  Both remarked the way the Sony buttons changed functions was clever.

5.  Myself.. I find 'most' of the functions I need in the A, S, or M modes are right there including Ev.. not sure how the "it's hard to change Ev" thing started.  You press one button and then dial in the amount you want.   ISO access could certainly be improved.. but this becomes another choice.

6.  The NEX-5 does seem to target less experienced (or no experience) photographers assuming they'll make good use of the AUTO modes.  Most functions/settings are easily available, but a few such as ISO are irritating.

7.  As an experienced photographer how will you use this camera?  It's a question I asked myself.  Because of the small size and limited space for buttons what I'd really like is an awesomely capable auto mode.  I use my DSLR in manual mode 90% of the time including manual exposure readings and manual focus.. I do this because the size of my DSLR allows for the placement of controls making their manipulation to effect a composition useful if not ideal.  I can't and don't expect a pocket size camera to have this type of control.  Sure, its' nice to go totally manual when I have all the time in the world no matter the size.. and this control is present in the NEX-5 if a bit hard to access.  But for most of my use of this genre of camera.. I want a good Auto mode.  At least that's how I used to use most of my pocket cameras.  The NEX-5's new UI allows me to go further and using Av mode for instance is now very easy even for a small camera ISO settings notwithstanding..   Anyway, how we use the camera.. it's a question we have to realistically answer with small cameras.  I don't see any pocket camera I've used the same size or smaller as the NEX-5 being any easier to use if you give it a fair chance.


There are some UI features I'd like changed, ISO access, a way to make the text on the excellent LCD bigger for sure (my eyes are getting more old every day).. a EVF would be nice.  Rayqual just announced adapters for Canon/Nikon/Pentax/Leica lenses.. for $200 it might be interesting to see how certain lenses I already own perform.

Image quality is quite good though I won't/can't say for sure until proper raw software becomes available.. Sony's software is easily the worst I've seen.. not so much in the conversions.. it's okay there.. but the UI.. ;o)

The NEX-5 is small.. precise.. clean.. and I find I don't mind the small flash being mounted all the time where flipping it up (manually) activates it.. its powerful enough for snaps in a moderate sized room and fill outdoors.  It's really like using a very small pocket camera but with a decent lens (only used the 14-55 so far) and with resulting great quality images you'd normally expect from APC-S DSLR..  Its certainly not perfect.. but the image quality puts it way above anything else in its physical size class.. I suspect we'll see some rapid firmware releases.
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fredjeang
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« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2010, 10:12:36 AM »
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Thank you Steve for taking the time to ad these precisions.

Still, if new concept means changing habits, I'm fine with that.
But if I don't have instant access to the important functions, Sony will not get my money
even if IQ is great. Because in the end, you will have to spend a lot of time with the gear, and if it does not respond naturally
then the very good IQ becomes a sort of nightmare.
In fact, look at the Leica X1, that is all we need basically.
IMO.
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Steve Weldon
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« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2010, 01:26:22 PM »
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Quote from: fredjeang
Thank you Steve for taking the time to ad these precisions.

Still, if new concept means changing habits, I'm fine with that.
But if I don't have instant access to the important functions, Sony will not get my money
even if IQ is great. Because in the end, you will have to spend a lot of time with the gear, and if it does not respond naturally
then the very good IQ becomes a sort of nightmare.
In fact, look at the Leica X1, that is all we need basically.
IMO.
Part of my point.. and it's an important point.. is that these small cameras are not necessarily "instant access" cameras and it's impossible to make them as 'instant access' as you can with a larger body.  You're limited by the physical space.  These small cameras were never designed to take the place of the better DSLR's.  They were designed to be small and to be used in mostly automatic modes as fast as possible..

And some would say that if you have to 'change habits' then its not coming 'naturally'.  Fair enough.. but I contend you have to change habits with any small camera when compared to a larger DSLR.  Its just that some small cameras do it better or easier than others.  But with the Sony.. the UI is a different type of UI.. Kinda like Aperture and Lightroom were so different from the others when they were first released.  Now their competition is copying them.. because once you grew accustomed to the UI it did in fact perform better.  I think with a few firmware refinements the NEX-5 will be like this too.

Time will tell.  But lets not condemn a new design because it is in fact.. a new design.   Instead lets investigate its potential and see if the new design (UI) will with time, give us more control over our small cameras than what we're currently accustomed to..

Btw.. I'm no Sony fan.  This is my first Sony camera.  But it is the only interchangeable lens APC-S sensor camera out there.. and my priority of requirements for this class of camera are:

1.  Image quality
2.  Size
3.  User interface

I'll suffer 'some' issues with 3, to have 1 and 2..  But I don't even care about 3 unless I can get a minimum amount of 1.. and if I have to compromise on 2 I'll just grab one of my DSLR's..

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barryfitzgerald
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« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2010, 01:39:22 PM »
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Quote from: Steve Weldon
Part of my point.. and it's an important point.. is that these small cameras are not necessarily "instant access" cameras and it's impossible to make them as 'instant access' as you can with a larger body.  You're limited by the physical space.  These small cameras were never designed to take the place of the better DSLR's.  They were designed to be small and to be used in mostly automatic modes as fast as possible..

I disagree. Have you ever tried a Ricoh camera?
I think they have a very good (and good degree of user customisation for menus) system and good controls.
So whilst you will always have less on body controls and space on smaller body cameras, that does not mean you have bad handling and much menu diving for basic operation.

Now I'm not saying Ricoh make perfect cameras now..but I'm using one right now (for a review I am writing) and I can tell you straight off, you can easily spot when a maker has put the effort in..and whose designers actually bother to use the thing for it's intended purpose ie it's hit the hands of people who actually take photos. Sony are not really interested in making cameras for photographers they are out to get p&s users and it shows very clearly with their recent products (including entry level DSLR's)
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fredjeang
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« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2010, 02:25:10 PM »
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Quote from: barryfitzgerald
I disagree. Have you ever tried a Ricoh camera?
I think they have a very good (and good degree of user customisation for menus) system and good controls.
So whilst you will always have less on body controls and space on smaller body cameras, that does not mean you have bad handling and much menu diving for basic operation.

Now I'm not saying Ricoh make perfect cameras now..but I'm using one right now (for a review I am writing) and I can tell you straight off, you can easily spot when a maker has put the effort in..and whose designers actually bother to use the thing for it's intended purpose ie it's hit the hands of people who actually take photos. Sony are not really interested in making cameras for photographers they are out to get p&s users and it shows very clearly with their recent products (including entry level DSLR's)
Indeed.
The ricoh controls design is really good. Pocket-size body but thought for (and I guess by) the photographer.
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« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2010, 09:46:38 PM »
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Quote from: barryfitzgerald
I disagree. Have you ever tried a Ricoh camera?
I think they have a very good (and good degree of user customisation for menus) system and good controls.
So whilst you will always have less on body controls and space on smaller body cameras, that does not mean you have bad handling and much menu diving for basic operation.

Now I'm not saying Ricoh make perfect cameras now..but I'm using one right now (for a review I am writing) and I can tell you straight off, you can easily spot when a maker has put the effort in..and whose designers actually bother to use the thing for it's intended purpose ie it's hit the hands of people who actually take photos. Sony are not really interested in making cameras for photographers they are out to get p&s users and it shows very clearly with their recent products (including entry level DSLR's)
I'm not sure what part you're disagreeing with.. but you do seem to agree that smaller bodies have less space for controls than DSLR's and like I said.. that is my point.  How a manufacturer uses this smaller space is key.  Sony has decided to try a new way.. and I'm sure they'll improve.. and others like Ricoh have decided to make them as much like 'traditional' design as possible.  

And I don't necessarily blame Sony for going after the much larger P&S market either.. they are in business to make money.  I personally want my small pocket cameras to work as well as possible in the auto modes.. even if it 'must' sacrifice ease of manual control.  I'm carrying a small camera because I want that ease.  And.. I consider myself a photographer.

I think it's a mistake to expect these small cameras to be "DSLR like" where it comes to controls.  It will never be possible.  You will always sacrifice something for the small size.  Usually we sacrifice image quality.. after going through a multitude of G9, G11, S90, EXR's, etc.. I'm tired of sacrificing image quality.  I want a very small camera for "all the time" carry that when I do manage to make a capture I want to use.. it's of a high enough IQ  to incorporate into my work right next to my DSLR images.  

We used to say it wasn't possible to get that sort of IQ in that small of a package.. Now we know it is.  Thank you Sony!  Now lets see if they can refine their new UI to help compensate for the lack of physical space.  

So far I think they're off to a good start and having actually used one, and having one sitting right here in front of me as we speak, I'm surprised at some of the comments I've read in the reviews.  I find them very easy to control in Av or Tv modes and even in Manual.  Most of the settings (aperture, shutter speed) are available with no button pushes (just turn the dial), others with one button push (focus point selection (or movement in flex mode), menu access), some with a single click of the cursor wheel (Ev, frame rate, flash control, info overlay)  others need improvement (ISO for instance)..   I also wish we could make the text on the screen bigger..  

Some of the things I've read in the reviews concerning the user UI simply aren't true.. or maybe my 1.0 firmware is different than theirs.  I find this camera easier to control in Av or Tv or M (I realize I'm using Canon nomenclature..) than any small point and shoot I've used to date 'overall'.  I like the ring control of the S90, the dials of the G9/G11, and other single features from other models.. thought I've got to admit every time I pick up one of these cameras from the bottom of my knapsack I find the dials have moved and I need to check everything.  But overall.. the Sony is easier to use.  The articulating screen is just icing on the cake.  Really nice icing.

Anyone here actually used one for longer than a few minutes in the store?  I just can't help but feel the people writing some of these reviews either have different firmware or haven't been paying attention.  I do think that larger text so you can more easily see what you're changing.. would go a long long way..
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tnargs
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« Reply #12 on: June 15, 2010, 11:58:48 PM »
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back on topic   ....yes, nice review.

I agree with OP it is surprising what power the in-hand 'fit and feel' of a camera can have on how the owner feels about it. (Although I have the opposite impression of the 5D -- it feels sooo nice in hand that my mind keeps reverting to it in my quest for a new outfit, despite it being at the large and pricey end of my range).

Regarding adapting to the idiosyncracies of a new camera, I agree with Steve in principle that we want to have open minds and not be trapped by the past. However, for a camera that is not our main unit but will be occasionally used for backup or everyday opportunities, it makes a lot more sense to wish it to be either similar to our main unit or very simple with no learning curve.

That's where the EX-1 comes in, according to the reviewer, as being familiar in the way one would expect of one's non-primary camera(s).
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« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2010, 02:10:29 AM »
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Quote from: tnargs
back on topic   ....yes, nice review.

I agree with OP it is surprising what power the in-hand 'fit and feel' of a camera can have on how the owner feels about it. (Although I have the opposite impression of the 5D -- it feels sooo nice in hand that my mind keeps reverting to it in my quest for a new outfit, despite it being at the large and pricey end of my range).

Regarding adapting to the idiosyncracies of a new camera, I agree with Steve in principle that we want to have open minds and not be trapped by the past. However, for a camera that is not our main unit but will be occasionally used for backup or everyday opportunities, it makes a lot more sense to wish it to be either similar to our main unit or very simple with no learning curve.

That's where the EX-1 comes in, according to the reviewer, as being familiar in the way one would expect of one's non-primary camera(s).
Damn.. didn't realize  was hijacking the thread.. but I should have.  My apologies.

I agree with the OP about the 5d2 vs. the 1 series.  I use both most every day and the 1 series body always just feels 'right' to me.  Is this because I've logged 100x the hours on it vs. 5d bodies, or is it because it's so much more capable in areas important to my work (i.e. autofocus, metering, speed, etc)?   Sometimes its good to ask ourselves this question.

I get your point about it being nice to go from one camera to the other with as little change as possible.  I'm a real believer in this, especially when working.  However.. having recently forced myself to tolerate the inferior 5d2 (ergo wise) and flipping back and forth between it and the 1 series.. I suppose I'm even a stronger believer in like bodies/controls but.. I'm also more confident I can flip back and forth between cameras while working.   This is making me consider adding a Nikon back into the fold.  Though.. I just can't relate a small camera like the NEX-5 or Ricoh or G9 to a DSLR.  They're just different.  This is probably why the Leica has been and will always be so well liked and legendary in nature.. they invented the best middle ground before we even knew we needed one..

Side note for laughs:  I just spent a few hours at Yanhee Hospital known for it's plastic surgery.  Cute girls on roller blades zipping files between departments and even cuter nurses who obviously use the services of their hospital.  The articulating screen made possible more than a few discreet captures and was really a lot of fun.  In Av mode I just left it in Auto ISO, flex AF (move the focus point to where you want it via the cursor), and shoot.. ISO 1600-3200 with very decent noise levels.  Interesting shots with an image quality that holds up decently when zooming in to look at their masterpieces..
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